Brush fire forces evacuation of community east of Flagstaff

Posted: Updated:
The Copley Fire has burned more than 50 acres. (Source: Pam R/Elise Wilson) The Copley Fire has burned more than 50 acres. (Source: Pam R/Elise Wilson)
Authorities said the fire started in a home and then spread to the brush. (Source: Pam R) Authorities said the fire started in a home and then spread to the brush. (Source: Pam R)
At least one home is a total loss. (Source: Pam R) At least one home is a total loss. (Source: Pam R)
Authorities say the wildfire was first reported in the area of Copley Road east of Leupp Road. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Authorities say the wildfire was first reported in the area of Copley Road east of Leupp Road. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
FLAGSTAFF, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

A fast-moving brush fire burned dozens of acres and forced people in one community from their homes east of Flagstaff on Sunday.

The Arizona State Forestry said the Copley Fire had burned 86 acres.

[SLIDESHOW: Dozens evacuated due to brush fire near Flagstaff]

Officials with the Coconino County Sheriff's Office and Coconino County Emergency Management evacuated the community of Winona, the agency said. About 75 people were at Summit Fire Station until they were allowed to return home, firefighters said.

They were allowed back in their homes around 8:30 p.m.

Townsend Winona was closed in both directions.

The fire started in a home just before 12:30 p.m. and then turned into a brush fire, said Tiffany Davila with the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management. She said the house was a total loss.

Authorities said it may have been a case of reckless burning at the home and have a person in custody.

Two other houses have been burned, Davila said.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Arizona wildfires]

Crews used a bulldozer to help stop the fire and a Department of Public Safety helicopter was used to drop water on the flames from the air.

Authorities said earlier that crews had pushed the growing blaze back against the cinder hills in the area and the chance for quick containment was looking good.

Authorities say the wildfire was first reported in the area of Copley Road east of Leupp Road.

Nine crews from Summit Fire, Flagstaff Fire and the U.S. Forest Service fire department are on the scene.

Nearby housing developments to Winona are on pre-evacuation.

Winona is about 16 miles east of Flagstaff off of Interstate 40.

Investigators said the brush fire was human-caused. 

[READ MORE: AZ wildfires have burned more than twice as many acres compared to last year]

The brush fire could be a small preview of a busy wildfire season in Arizona. The Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management said more than twice as many acres have been so far in the state this year compared to the same time last year.

[RELATED: State conducting marketing campaign to push fire prevention]

The National Weather Service said the drought in the state has been getting worse. Weather models show the there will 30 percent less rain in the upcoming months compared to normal rainfall. The agency also said the northern part of the state might not see rain until monsoon season, which starts on June 15.

[RELATED: Gov. Ducey: Warm winter means challenging wildfire season ahead]

Peak wildfire season usually runs from May to July.

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.